Recent Comments

By robinhb on Wootton Wawen, Stratford Canal and Austy Wood, Warwickshire Map not at all clear.
By Stuart on Coldharbour and Leith Hill, Surrey Stephan Langton pub is currently for sale and closed for the forseeable future.
By Stuart on Chilworth & Blackheath Forest, Surrey Hills Fellow walkers will now search in vain for a shelter labelled Brantyngeshay down Sample Oak Lane. Watch out instead for the Public Bridleway sign immediately after The Lodge and Pilar Lodge driveway on the left side of the road.
By Steven Lewis on Chilworth & Blackheath Forest, Surrey Hills Thanks for visiting Surrey (again). It's a lovely walk probably better on a hot day. The wife and I used to park by the Albury bowls club and then walk up a narrow lane and across the railway to a shrunken path. It was here we spotted an adder trying to eat a toad! Then bear left across to Blackheath, where there used to be a pub. Thanks as always :-)
By Christopher on Winster and Wensley, Derbyshire Dales I’m very sorry to say that Christine Ratcliff reports this walk in a bad state, viz: > It certainly wasnt moderate!Nearly all of the signposts were destroyed or hidden - some hacked off the post - some posts pulled out ground. we never ever found > a footbridge you mention ... we went wrong there trying to find it lost an hour here! > impossible to find route up to cambridge wood we hacked through > undergrowth! but the worst bit was at the mine shaft field - your > instructions are so vague please update here with everywhere telling > you private keep out and all sign posts gone it was very difficult to > navigate compass stuff! It was clear hikers are not welcome quite scary. > I dont think anyone has walked this for ever we saw not one > person!Even finding the limestone way we overshot! It’s hard to know what proportion of Christine’s difficulty was down to navigational errors, but the route was certainly in nothing like this poor condition when I did it two years less than ago, and it sounds as though it might have been made deliberately less do-able, for reasons I can only guess at. I’d be grateful for any other reports.
By robinhb on Chidham Peninsula, West Sussex Worth noting that footpath at southern tip of walk not passable +/- 1 hr of high tide.
By sdhughes on Newport & Debden Park, Essex We enjoyed doing the Debden Park section of this walk today (1st Nov 2020) and enjoyed the tranquil setting, gently rolling landscape and the combination of water and woodland along the way! Stout footwear advised as sections of the route were muddy. Another refreshment option is the Plough pub in the centre of Debden, continuing along the Harcamlow Way past the church. A nice find away from the agricultural landscapes of East Anglia!
By RobertY on Rodmell & Harvey's Cross, East Sussex Lovely walk but one error in your description: "Where road ends at cattle grid, left on track (403031, ‘St Michael’s Landour’)" I think you mean right. We made that mistake but, with a GPS device, quickly realised it was wrong but another couple who were at the pub at the end had no such luck and had made a large unplanned detour!
By john on Books Our War - How the British Commonwealth Fought the Second World War ‘Vivid reading. Knowing that some of the fighting in the Burmese jungle was hand-to- hand is one thing; reading what it was like to take part in a bayonet charge is quite another.’ - Sunday Telegraph ‘But for Somerville, many of the stories in this fascinating book would have been lost with the deaths of their tellers. This is the first time that some of these men and women have spoken about their experiences.’ - Eye on Tuesday ‘An engrossing, well told story of terror, extraordinary courage and friendships forged for life. And humour. Somerville wisely gives his interviewees free rein to show that even in the most frightening incidents, people can still raise a smile.’ - Huddersfield Examiner ‘This is an inspiring story: politicians and generals make the decisions, but it is the ordinary people who make history.’ - The Age
By sdhughes on Ashdon and Steventon End, Essex A lovely winter walk, but can be muddy in places. The house named 'Aulnoye' in the walk description is now called 'Lang Meadows'. We found the Ordinance Survey map with overlay of the walk (follow link in the description above) most helpful in keeping to the walk, given the number of turns on the route.
By Christopher on New Quay to Aberaeron, Ceredigion, Wales Welsh-languagely speaking, you’re quite right, Jennifer - but for practical purposes I’ve used the names as given on the OS Explorer map, which walkers will be using.
By jenbrowne1970 on New Quay to Aberaeron, Ceredigion, Wales It is, indeed, a spectacular walk! Wonderful to see your article in this Saturday’s ‘The Times’ outlining the course of the above-named walk. Thank you. Just had to write to note a few things: 1) New Quay Bay isn’t the name for that stretch of beach. It’s called Traethgwyn. 2) The name Little Quay beach doesn’t exist either as this is a direct Englsh translation of a Welsh place name. That beach’s name is Cei Bach. Diolch yn fawr, Jennifer Browne
By jonne650 on Elsdon and Gallow Hill, Northumberland Dear David, we attempted this walk at the end of July 2019, but a few things have changed in the intervening years as much of the route has been neglected. At the start the ladder stile is nearly hidden behind vegetation and the field behind it is tricky to cross because of the height of the weeds. Luckily some intrepid soul must have walked that way recently as there was a very narrow path of pushed down vegetation we could follow. Eventually found the stile out of the field! Track to follow from that point has disappeared but keeping the resevoir in sight we did find the next stile. Route was straightforward to Fairneycleugh farm but again the grassy track to Soppit farm was indistinct. At Haining a grassy path has been cut from the bridge over the stream which now takes you directly to the point where you enter the plantation, no need to go 50m right. Crossing the road towards Gallow Hill the fingerpost to "Hillhead Cottage" is no longer there. At the point where you head half right to Lonning House and meet 2 stiles things get difficult especially with a dog, as the stiles are very overgrown and not in the greatest of conditions. Looking over the field to Lonning House no track was visible and the route blocked by bracken, thistles and the usual type of vegetation you don't really want to get into, particularly when it is up to neck height with some lovely hidden ditches! The Schitzu did not enjoy. Got to the road after an eternity at which point we debated returning to the start via the road. We decided to carry on over the stile into the next field. Big mistake. Accosted by two very curious, LARGE, horses who would not leave us alone to the point of being buffetd on the shoulders and back by their heads. Clearly they wanted some attention and were not going to leave us be. By this time the dog was in my arms and the wife was in tears as although we do not mind horses in the least this was getting a bit too full on physical. Time to exit back to the road and return to Elsdon. On the plus side there were some spectacular views on the route we managed to complete. Oh, as a last point and not something to worry yourself about as it was not part of your description but for anyone reading.....I now know there are no gallows on Gallows Hill despite some photos on the web!! Happy walking! Regards, John
By LMSM on Holystone & Craig Bastle, Northumberland I live fairly near the walk and, coincidentally, have been on sections of it quite a lot recently. It is a great area in which to walk. Your description did raise one or two points. Glad you noticed the 'gale' (Bog Myrtle); not many people do! Did you taste the water at St Mungo’s Well, near the church? Tastes better than it smells! You did miss out Rob Roy's Cave on the Dovecrag Burn; I suspect very few people find it at 55.316004, -2.085491. That's because it's so difficult to access. The only way to it is via the stream bed, from 50yds or so upstream and down the small waterfall. Worth a look. The Pedlar’s Stone. I might be wrong but I don’t think it’s actually in that curious and interesting enclosure – I think it’s the huge stone that’s the beginning of the stone wall 100yds to the north of the enclosure. However, the REAL gem you missed here is the Roman rock carving of their god Cocidius . The head sized relief carving is on the east face of a rock on the top of the escarpment, not easy to find but it’s at 55.298802, -2.119332 technically just outside the boundary of Otterburn Ranges (but worth checking with them if you go, just to be on the safe side). I think it’s only been ‘discovered’ fairly recently. You probably noticed there are only four ‘Kings’ but I wonder if this is the fifth one?
By Nicksdave on East Haddon and Holdenby, Northants It was from Holdenby that Charles travelled to Althorpe House to play bowls, and this was during the time of his imprisonment at Holdenby. Glorious countryside in this part of Northamptonshire.
By John Bourne on Lyth Valley & Whitbarrow, Cumbria Can I suggest that this walk is much better done the other way round, clockwise. Done that way round when walking north from the Lord's Seat along the ridge of the Scar the sun will be behind you and the full range of Lake District peaks are in front of you. Done your way round you have your back to the view before you descend into woodland.
By welforddave on Abbots Bromley & Bagot's Park, Staffordshire Those useless people at The Times somehow managed to print this without your intro!
By RichardD on Exton and Beacon Hill, Hants Top walk - I used to live in the area and have walked the betty munday's bottom part but from the west. Have also walked from exton to beacon hill this walk connects the two and should be very good. An alternative is exton to beacon hill and then loop east back over the mighty meon to old winchester hill (an iron age hill fort). Last time I went to the Shoe Inn it was trying to hard to be a restaurant rather than a great pub, but hopefully that has changed.
By owlsman on Calke Park, Derbyshire I really enjoyed this walk - the bus number has now changed from 61 to 2 from Derby to Ticknall
By Christopher Somerville on Middle Mayfield and Cuckoo Cliff, Staffordshire David Odling has kindly sent these notes (22.10.17). Thanks, David! ... 1. At the northern end of the walk near Leasow, you wrote "Right ... 100m; right over triple stile (YA); half left to cross double stile (133477). Half left to go through SS by holed stone." This needs correcting: the double stile is actually another triple (wood-stone-wood, like the previous one); more importantly, it should then read "Half right to go through SS ...", not "Half left ...". 2. The diversion to the left at Ellishill Farm is complete with new YAs supplemented by "Diverted Footpath" discs. 3. However, the new route rejoins the old at a most unfriendly stile - you need v. long legs, especially on the downward side; the path then descends steeply and awkwardly through scrub and trees (narrow and slippery), although there is a parallel, concrete farm track which you are kept off. 4. The subsequent path along the left bank of the brook is, as you state, overgrown/far from clear especially over the first 1/4 mile. 5. This whole stretch of about 1/3 - 1/2 mile from the unfriendly stile was tough going and, yes, it is December. As an experienced walker with good, strong boots, I did not mind, but I did wonder about the description of the walk as "moderate" - fine for the rest of it, but for this stretch??? Perhaps a advisory note about wet/winter weather.
By Lester Pritchard on High Halstow and the Thames shore, Isle of Grain, Kent After many years reading about the walks in The Times, I've now finally done one, and very good it was too. On a bright and breezy late summer's day, we had a splendid walk down to the sea wall. We met virtually no-one, just the occasional dog-walker and a few East European agicultural workers. The peace and calmness of the area was all-enveloping, and Egypt Bay did indeed feel Dickensian; the spirit of Magwitch lived. The views were magnificent, particularly at the point when you can look one way down to the Thames and the other down to the Medway. Two minor points: On the day of our trip, 9 September 2017, the recommended path had become impenetrable at one point. As we tried to go through the scrub wood at 787765, the brambles and nettles were too overgrown for us to pass, and we had to retrace our steps, on to the paved road, to get down to Decoy Farm. If we'd had a machete, we would have been ok! Secondly, the Saxon Shore Way at 792763 is almost farmed over, despite the presence of fingerposts, but there were no crops in the field, so we carried on.
By Christopher on Henley & Woolbeding Common, West Sussex Dear Roger, Unfortunately I have very few words allocated for the instructions, so I have to use abbreviations. BLA is short for black arrow, and as you’ll see from the quoted snippet below, I explain it the first time I use it. After that, it’s just the abbreviation. 'At drive, right (black arrow/BLA) up bank to cross A268 (893256, FP, ST) – please take care! Follow woodland path (BLA, ST) to Verdley Edge.’ I hope this explains it. If you do the walk, please let me know how you get on. With good wishes, Christopher
By Roger Hubert on Henley & Woolbeding Common, West Sussex Thanks for the map and directions. What does BLA stand for? (passed a BLA ...)
By Christopher Somerville on Clougha, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire Reader Jane Lucas writes to say that she and her dog were thwarted of their walk when they found the route peppered with notices banning dogs. How I missed seeing those notices when I did this walk, I can’t imagine, but they are definitely there. The Forest of Bowland AONB (01200-448000, have explained the situation as follows: Generally, walkers are welcome to roam freely across Open Access areas - though these might be subject in some cases to temporary closures for shooting or the breeding season. Unfortunately, though, it’s true that in certain Open Access areas, including portions of the Forest of Bowland, dogs are banned all year round if they are not on a leash and on a Public Right of Way. The Abbeystead Estate, of which Clougha is part, is one of these. You can get specific maps and information from notices posted at the individual places, or at Sorry you had this frustrating experience, Jane!
By Christopher Somerville on North Grimston & Settrington, Yorkshire Wolds Do, John Butterfield - it's really worthwhile.
By John Butterfield on North Grimston & Settrington, Yorkshire Wolds Great to read this. Its an area I drive through a dozen times a year as my son is at Hull university. I have often wanted to stop at North Grimston to visit the church and the pub is often shut when I pass but I will make a concerted effort next time....
By Christopher on Books Dear Trevor, What a wonderful message to receive - thank you so much. I’m delighted that The January Man rang so many bells with you. That is exactly what I hoped for the book. I felt that a whole generation of men had had incomplete relationships with their fathers, and would respond to what I wanted to say. Lucky you to live where you do! It’s beautiful country. With very good wishes, Christopher
By Trevor on Books Christopher. I have just finished reading your book and wanted to thank you for the pleasure it gave me. I identified so much with many of your themes. I have just had my 70th. birthday and a keen walker, My father was similar in many ways to your father. Very formal after a busy war. The same reserved manner and the Kiwi polish tins!I am familiar with many of the areas covered in your wonderfully written book. As a young boy in the 1950's it was thought acceptable to spend all day out on my bike visiting Dawlish Warren, Yarner Wood on Dartmoor or down to Slapton Sands. Those were the days. Brought up in Devon,taught for many years in Shire counties, now living in Worcestershire. The country side around here is wonderful and there is much to see. I was watching a stoat last week on the back of the Malvern Hills and today a red kite flew over my cottage just outside Evesham. I have spread the word amongst my friends. Thanks once again. Trevor
By Christopher Somerville on Marcross & St Donat’s, South Glamorgan, Wales Oops! Thanks for pointing that out!
By Vale of Glamorgan Tourism Association on Marcross & St Donat’s, South Glamorgan, Wales
By Vale of Glamorgan Tourism Association on Marcross & St Donat’s, South Glamorgan, Wales really enjoyed your piece in yesterday's Times -great choice of walk (and indeed pub)... not sure that is the web address we'd point folk towards... do please send them our way or to the Wales FB page - but not England ;)
By Christopher on Books Dear George, What a lovely message to get! Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write. I’m really delighted that you enjoyed 'Our War' and were moved by it. I found it remarkable that by 1995, fifty years after the end of the war, no-one had yet collected together the threads of such a unique world-wide story that crossed bounds of race, colour, creed and nationality. It was an extraordinary experience to travel all over the world and have all those men and women decant their stories - some heroic, some ignoble, most of them traumatic in one way or another - into my little Walkman recorder. It changed the way I thought about that generation, and in fact helped me to understand my own parents better. With good wishes, Christopher
By George Pitt on Books Book “Our War” Dear Christopher, I have recently completed reading the above book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and would like to thank you for writing such a thoughtful, thought provoking and insightful tome. An ex pat, now in my 81st year and living in Merimbula on the Far South Coast of NSW,Australia. I well recall sleeping most nights in an Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden in North London, and later a Morrison shelter in the house. Thankfully, we all survived. I am not usually moved to scribing comments but was so moved on this occasion. Thankyou once again for the privilege of being able to read the fruits of your research. Sincerely George Pitt
By Christopher on Eversholt and Toddington Park, Bedfordshire Our attempts to extend this walk by coming back via the excellent Red Lion pub at Milton Bryan were frustrated by a blocked footpath (FP No. 8) on the southern edge of the village, 200m NW of Town Farm. We reported this to the Ramblers ( Near Fountaine’s Farm on southern outskirts of Milton Bryan, the footpath runs NW across a field to enter a hedge and cross a stream on a footbridge (waymark arrow), 200m NW of Town Farm. The path should then turn left/SW along the stream to a pond at SP 97465 30036 approx. where it meets a lane running north to join Park Road. However, from the footbridge SW the path is impassable. It has been taken into a horse paddock with an electric fence; then 50m further SW it has been swallowed up in the garden of a newish house; then between there and the lane it disappears. After our complaint was passed on to Central Bedfordshire Council, the path was cleared, so you can now enjoy this nice extension. Thanks so much to Paul Aylott for taking the trouble to pass our report on, and to Richard Thompson (not that one!), Public Rights of Way Officer (West) at the Highways Dept. of Central Bedfordshire Council, for going out there and clearing and waymarking the route. Very good to know that a blocked path can and will be cleared if one takes the trouble to notify the Ramblers, and then follows it up if it slips through their net.
By Christopher on Eversholt and Toddington Park, Bedfordshire Dear Paul, Thanks very much for getting in touch. Yes, we planned to come back via Milton Bryan - but someone has caused the footpath to disappear behind an electric fence in their paddock, and then into their garden. Details, as reported to the Ramblers on 28 October: Near Fountaine’s Farm on southern outskirts of Milton Bryan, the footpath runs NW across a field to enter a hedge and cross a stream on a footbridge (waymark arrow), 200m NW of Town Farm. The path should then turn left/SW along the stream to a pond at SP 97465 30036 approx. where it meets a lane running north to join Park Road. However, from the footbridge SW the path is impassable. It has been taken into a horse paddock with an electric fence; then 50m further SW it has been swallowed up in the garden of a newish house; then between there and the lane it disappears. We got all the way to the footbridge, and had to turn back and truncate our walk. If there was any kind of diversion to reach the village street, it wasn’t waymarked. Very frustrating! And no action to remedy things, as yet. With good wishes, Christopher
By Paul Aylott on Eversholt and Toddington Park, Bedfordshire Hi, I am local to the area and you could have visited Milton Bryan and the Red Lion on the way back, and picked up the return path. Another option was the GSR trail at the start gone though Ridgmont and back through Woburn Safari Park to the Green Man. Just thoughts, thanks for your weekly walks.
By Christopher on Fulking and South Downs, East Sussex Dear Anna, What an absolutely charming email - thank you so much for taking the trouble to send it. I’m delighted you enjoyed those two walks, and you’ll find one or two more in Sussex on the website. Do let me know how you get on. With good wishes, and thanks again, Christopher
By Anna on Fulking and South Downs, East Sussex Hi Christopher I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your walks! We stumbled across your site last weekend when looking for somewhere new to take the dog in West Sussex. Last week we did the Fulking walk starting from the Shepherd and Dog and on Saturday we did the 7 mile Burpham walk. You're so kind to share your routes and maps and it's astounding to know there are so many incredible places on our doorstep that i just didn't know about or think to visit! So thank you thank you! Have a brilliant week and happy walking! Anna x
By Victor Creeky on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Sorry Chris, I have no info on Maureen. You prompted me to look online and there are a few references to the bench from walkers but no background.
By Christopher Somerville on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Thanks, Victor Creeky. Who is/was Maureen, do you know?
By Victor Creeky on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Yes, a great walk. May I suggest a diversion to the stone circle at Moel Ty Uchaf on the way up. And you missed 'Maureen's Bench' tucked away a few yards along the upstream path at Pont Rhyd-yr-hŷdd where I usually have lunch! ha :-)
By Christopher Somerville on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Just at the top of the old drover's road at a place called Bwlch Nant Rhyd Wilym. The cairn's on the opposite side of the road, and you can climb up along a boggy track to Cadair Berwyn. There's another mountain track from the top of Cadair Berwyn that goes back down to Llandrillo, which would make a brilliant round walk - but not in rain, mist and high wind. Not for the likes of me, anyway!
By Steve Walwyn on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire I seem to remember reading about that at the's at the top of the Berwyns if memory serves?
By Christopher Somerville on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Yes, Steve Walwyn, beautiful place. Up at the pass there's a memorial to 'Wanderer' - Walter Robinson, a 1920s cycling writer who inspired thousands of youngsters in post-WW1 Britain to get out and explore on 2 wheels. Bit of an unsung hero.
By Steve Walwyn on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Cycled around there many years ago Chris...Bala, Lake Vyrnwy, Bwlch-y-Groes, lovely!
By Suzanne I'ons on Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire I agree this is a very pleasant walk; you have reminded me that I need to do it again soon - haven't experienced it in the Autumn.
By Christopher Somerville on Haweswater and Swindale, Cumbria Folks - please note that the Mardale Inn at Bampton is now a self-catering place. However, you can still get refreshments and B&B accommodation in Bampton at the Crown & Mitre, CA10 2QR (01931-713225, - Christopher
By Christopher Somerville on Clifton-upon-Teme, Worcestershire Thanks very much, Bob. Have any other walkers found problems here? You can report them to Worcs County Council Rights of Way team at or to the Ramblers at
By Bob Thurtle on Clifton-upon-Teme, Worcestershire Being an experienced walker I have today tried to walk as per your article published 19.03.16.I can't think you wrote it this year as the descend down Witchery Hole is severely blocked by fallen trees. The path through wood (735642) is again nearly impossible to follow because of fallen trees and the bridge across the stream has been washed away. In my opinion your walk is now dangerous and I would suggest to take it off your website.
By Christopher on Laurie Lee’s Slad, Gloucestershire Dear Penelope, Thanks very much for getting in touch - I really appreciate it. So pleased you enjoyed the Laurie Lee walk - it is a beautiful place, and tremendously enhanced if you know a bit about Lee’s work. One of the few writers to truly immortalise a place. With good wishes, Christopher
By Penelope on Laurie Lee’s Slad, Gloucestershire I carefully kept your walk from The Times in 2014 for the Slad Valley - and today, we did it! We've just hiked the Laurie Lee Wildlife Trail. Glorious views across to the Severn from Swift Hill when we stopped for a picnic at lunch time; wonderful Lee poems en route to read and relish and reflect upon; and the sun came out this afternoon. Thank you for your walks and maps and directions. Looking forward to tackling some in Cornwall later in the month!
By Christopher Somerville on Wadesmill and Sacombe Green, Herts Really pleased you enjoyed it, Lesley. Let me know how you get on with other walks! Christopher
By Lesley on Wadesmill and Sacombe Green, Herts We've just returned from doing the Wadesmill walk you described in The Times on Saturday. We've had a lovely day, have a great sense of achievement and the walk was exactly as described. Now we've discovered your website and books and are looking forward to more adventures. Many thanks for this wonderful resource.
By Tony Watson on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Sorry, very confusing. Cadeleigh's web site makes mention of the Exe but not the Dart.
By Christopher Somerville on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Tony Watson, if you look at the map, you'll see that it is the River Dart I was writing about - just a different River Dart from the one you mean!
By Andy Harrison on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Remember kayaking down the dart when I was at Brookes.
By Tony Watson on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Wrong river, Cadeleigh overlooks the Exe. The Dart is miles away......on Dartmoor.
By Sarah Fletcher on Beaminster and Lewesdon Hill, Dorset We've just walked your Beaminster and Lewesdon Hill walk which was great, though there are certainly some steep hills in that area! We got lost looking for Stoke Knapp Farm so will have to do it all again to try and find it. However we cut down past Chart Knolle Farmhouse and managed to find the New Inn in Stoke Abbott and pick up the rest of the walk. We have previously done some of your Kent walks and as frequent visitors to Dorset will now work through your Dorset suggestions. Thank you for providing us with a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's walking. Sarah and Mike Fletcher
By bert hetherington on Corrour Station to Glen Nevis, Rannoch Moor, Scotland hi after a couple of operations on my arteries im now ready to go back to corrour to fort william but this time without the white stuff lol i hope but will be well prepared could do it in one day but am going to enjoy the scenery so two or three days out in the middle of nowhere sounds good to me i staed in meanach bothy last time but will carry tent this time so i can just stop whenever i wish no rush an might bump into some interesting people instead of just the deer all the best bert
By Peter Druce on RSPB Marshside Reserve, Merseyside Listen you I have been right next to said RSPB reserve all morning , too wet for golf at Muni !! But yes it's a super spot , just another NorthWest gem. Hope your all well. Pete x.
By Dennis Udall on RSPB Marshside Reserve, Merseyside Nice walk for you here Peter Druce
By Jane and Andrew Brown on Hallaton and Medbourne, Leicestershire Dear Mr Somerville We write to tell you how much we enjoyed your Hallton walk in glorious sunshine yesterday. We also met two other couples with The Times copy in hand whilst eating lunch in Nevill Arms cafe courtyard! With kind regards Jane and Andrew Brown
By RAN BANSAL on Wyre Forest, Worcestershire Hi been looking at your web and you have done a great job. I am a new comer to walking so will try some of the walks . Im in birmingham.
By Alma on Kintbury and Hamstead Park, Berkshire Many thanks indeed. You are a star! I, and my friends, will enjoy your walk I am sure - the right length and variety of countryside. Alma.
By Christopher on Kintbury and Hamstead Park, Berkshire Dear Alma, Here’s a map of our route, and the complete Ballad of Kintbury Bell. With good wishes, Christopher
By Anna Reid on Hawkley and the Hangers, Hampshire Today I did your Hawkley, Hants walk with husband and son. It was quite lovely, and your directions were immaculate. Thank you!
By Christopher Somerville on Chrishall and Harcamlow Way, Essex Keith Bennett notes that he found the footbridge at OS ref TL 451382 closed, presumably for repairs - no date for re-opening given. This is the bridge by which one crosses a stream immediately after crossing the B1039 while approaching Chrishall's church. You can detour by turning left along B1039 when you reach it; in 200m, right along Bury Lane; and in 350m, right (450386) on a footpath to the church. Thanks very much for this update, Keith - and for the note on the delicious taste of the freshly fallen plums along the route!
By Keith Bennett on Chrishall and Harcamlow Way, Essex Footbridge closed off on footpath leading from the B1032 towards Chrishall church. My wife and I very much enjoyed this walk last week and hope to do a part of it again tomorrow. The directions were spot on but the best bit was to discover many freshly fallen plums that tasted excellent. Thanks for another great walk and only ten miles from home.
By Christopher Somerville on Elton & Fotheringhay, Northants/Cambs Thanks, Keith. The disused railway sounds like a great solution - but I can't official endorse it, because it isn't a public right of way. To keep the right side of the law, Para 1 of the Walk Directions should read: From village green walk north up Duck Street passing Crown Inn on your right (pavement along road). In 450m, fork right on left bend (086945; Yarwell Mill, Sibson’). Follow this track north for 1 and a half miles; then left (081968) for 700m to meet Nene Way (076969). Left to meet Fotheringay Road in Nassington (068961).
By Keith Bennett on Elton & Fotheringhay, Northants/Cambs My wife and I have just returned from the Elton and Fotheringay walk into some fine Northamptonshire countryside. A gentle brezze to keep off the strength of the summer sun. We did find that the bridge over the Nene soon after the start of the walk was clsoed on the 25th June this year making it necessary to find another way across the Nene river. There is a lock bridge back in the village of Elton at Mill River End. The bridge path connects with a footpath that leads out to the disused railway. When you reach the old railway line turn right on to it and follow the until you join the path that you specified leading to the village of Nassington. This revised bit of the walk is, in our opinioin, just a enjoyable as the original. Sadly there seem to be no plans at the moment to re-instate the unsafe bridge and no alternative is suggested when you get to it. Herons, Red Kites, skylarks and many rooks congregating accompanied our most enjoyable walk. A good stop at the Falcon Inn Fotheringay added to our pleasure.
By Christopher Somerville on Wicken Fen and Reach Lode, Cambridgeshire Wonderful news, CJ - thank you!
By Christopher John Gallagher on Wicken Fen and Reach Lode, Cambridgeshire Delightful piece, Christopher. One thing you have not mentioned is that the fen has recently been repopulated with the beautifully irridescent tansy beetle. The last two strongholds of this magical insect were Wicken Fen and the banks of the Yorkshire Ouse, but the last sighting at Wicken was 32 years ago and the Yorkshire population has been considerably diminished over recent years. The population in one area, just to the north of York, at Rawcliffe, has remained robust and specimens from here were bucketed down to Cambridgeshire to re-establish the Wicken population.
By Christopher on The Langtons, Leicestershire Dear Jane and Don, Thanks so much for getting in touch, and I’m delighted to picture you enjoying that walk between those lovely villages - all dressed in yellow, even if you didn’t set out that way! It’s a beautiful part of the country, and not often written about. With good wishes, Christopher
By Jane & Don Welch on The Langtons, Leicestershire Christopher We have just done the walk in the Langtons starting from Church Langton. What a beautiful walk, full of variation and very easy to follow your instructions. We live in south west Leicestershire which is much flatter so good to have a few hills to negotiate. The only problem was the Rape fields - in full bloom at present and a bit tricky to walk amongst without getting covered in yellow dust! Thankyou, we will definitely use your walks again Jane & Don Welch
By Christopher Somerville on North Meadow, Glos/Wilts Lovely comments, Ruth! And delighted that you and Steve like this. Yes, the celandines have been superb this year, haven't they? We were out walking yesterday at Hillesley in the south Cotswolds, and they were everywhere - along with primroses, cowslips, bluebells, dandelions, marsh marigolds, banks of violets, and moschatel in shady places. Since this is Confession Corner ... I haven't read The Story of My Heart either. But now I will!
By Ruth Walwyn on North Meadow, Glos/Wilts Thank you for your post but you don't know what you have started. Read about the yellows of the buttercups and primroses but no mention of the celandines that are in one of the photos. So then I was trying to remember what Richard Jefferies had said about the colour of celandines, something along the lines of them being more like the colour of sunshine than buttercups but he talks about the often so there are many quotes to find.. Then I realised that although I have read Wood Magic, Bevis, After London, and Amarylis at the Fair I have NOT read The Story of My has this happened? So thank you again for leading me down this path, although it is not the one with map references from your blog! x
By Christopher Somerville on Robin Hood's Bay to Whitby, North Yorkshire Yes, it's hard to drag yourself away. You feel though you should be walking round in a pair of cracked old seaboots.
By Ann Sandell on Robin Hood's Bay to Whitby, North Yorkshire One of my favorite places, read you had trouble leaving
By Christopher on Stagenhoe and St Paul's Walden, Herts Dear Gordon, Thanks so much for getting in touch. Lucky you to live in Bedfordshire! - one of the least-explored counties, but some really superb walking (especially where you are, with those lovely chalk hills) and local history if you take the trouble to look. There are several Beds and Beds/Herts walks on the site, and I hope you'll enjoy exploring them and let me know how you get on. I'll mention them in my Blog - there's a link to it on the site home page. Do you know if any of the old Bedfordshire brickfields have their chimneys still standing? I'd love to base a walk around those rather eerie sites. Happy Walking! Christopher
By Gordon McCulloch on Stagenhoe and St Paul's Walden, Herts Dear Christopher, having read the Saturday Times for many years, I always look out for your very interesting walks, especially when they are local. Today, I've just discovered your website. It's a great discovery! Living in Barton Le Clay, Beds., I've walked (and run) around the Icknield Way often, but never knew the history you talked about during your walk in 2009. My wife and I look forward to undertaking your latest walk in nearby Stagenhoe. Best regards, Gordon McCulloch
By Christopher Somerville on Steeple Claydon and Hillesden, Buckinghamshire Yes, it was a really strange and stirring sight. I have been in love with Lancasters ever since reading 'The Dambusters' as a boy, and making one of those Airfix kits of a Lanc. That was the first time I ever heard of 'matt black' - that was the night camouflage paint you had to get in a tiny little tin tub from Humbrol. The trouble was that the glue dried so damn fast, I could never get the wheels or propellers to go round! That plane hung from my bedroom ceiling for some time; then I took it into the garden with a friend and we blasted it to bits with our .177 Diana air rifles. Happy days!
By Jeff Morris on Steeple Claydon and Hillesden, Buckinghamshire Great walk,love the Lancaster Bomber, wow.
By Christopher Somerville on Dungeness, Kent Shame the Times rather prudishly cut him out of my article! But what an extraordinary place. BTW, Ruth, I'm posting on Christopher's Blog nowadays, and rarely look at the Christopher Somerville page!
By Ruth Walwyn on Dungeness, Kent I wonder what Dickens would have thought about the naked rambler....more likely a character living at Byatt's Purchase House?
By Steve Share on Crimpiau, Snowdonia, N. Wales Beautiful looking walk Christopher.
By Paul on Naunton and the Slaughters, Gloucestershire A terrific walk, thank you. We kept this from the Times in March 2012 but only walked it today. Fabulous directions from your web-site. One addition you might make is to mention the tea shop at the mill in Lower Slaughter. Being half way round it is ideal for a snack or lunch. They serve delicious flapjack! Thank you again. Paul
By Genny on Bramley and Thorncombe Street, Surrey Just to say that 2 11 year olds and our dog really enjoyed this walk and the excellent pub at the end of the walk yesterday. Thank you Genny
By Christopher Somerville on Cranborne and Alderholt, Dorset Dear Campaignerkate, I was going by what was in the Circles and Tangents exhibition catalogue: If they got it wrong - they need a good slap! Christopher
By campaignerkate on Cranborne and Alderholt, Dorset Hi Chris Are you sure Boveridge is 1943? I saw it today at Pallant House where it was billed as c1949, and the Spectator website has the same date. They say it was painted when EQ was mourning the death of Kit in 1948.
By mrmick56 on Red squirrels: Mirk Pot, Snaizeholme, North Yorkshire what a day out this it is walking from hawes to snaizeholm to see the red squirrels.who ever thought this idea out about setting up a squirrel viewing area is could not get his head round how many squirrels he was looking at some came within three feet of he says every time we go to hawes we have to visit snaizeholm. one thing would be nice to know is what time are the squirrels fed ????
By Benn Handley on Great Fen Project, Holme Fen NNR, Cambridgeshire just a thank you for last Saturday's walk in The Times around Holme Fen - was there for sunrise - magical we look forward to your saturday walks along with working our way through your books take care Benn Handley
By Christopher on Newbridge Wood, Batt’s Wood and Dens Wood, East Sussex Dear Derek, Thanks for these helpful comments. Yes, I'm afraid the Witherenden farm section doesn't exactly murmur 'Walkers welcome'! Cottage with ornate porch - we did the walk in October, so maybe it was a bit more visible. Directions here: I didn't actually tell walkers to follow the permissive path to the cottage. I said: 'At top of hill, opposite cottage with ornate porch on left, keep ahead by fence (630274) to cross stile (YA) into Batt’s Wood.' Perhaps it would be better expressed as: 'At top of hill, with cottage with ornate porch visible over on the left, keep ahead ...' With good wishes for happy walking, Christopher
By Derek Gilman on Newbridge Wood, Batt’s Wood and Dens Wood, East Sussex Lovely walk but just a couple of comments. The metal gate beyond Witherenden Farmyard was closed with tightly knotted 'rope' and the only access to the field was by squeezing between the gatepost and a wooden post covered with barbed wire. The next metal gate was also roped shut and the stile was missing its 'step''. In the detailed instructions, the 'cottage with ornate porch' is barely visible. Perhaps it was in winter, with little foliage on the trees! By following the 'permissive access' arrow to the cottage (and porch!), you have gone too far. The owner - a very pleasant lady - said that this was happening all the time. Instead, just follow the yellow arrow straight into Batts Wood.
By Christopher on Books Dear Peter, Thanks very much for your email and I'm delighted that you've enjoyed my book. I have found it basically impossible to stay completely dry. The nearest I've come is using a lightweight Rohan anorak (or rain shell or whatever they call them nowadays) which cost about £250 - money well spent. I wear this in combination with Berghaus waterproof trousers that both zip and button up. Boots - I have very sensitive feet, prone to blistering, and I've found that Brasher Supalites are the best. They are made of leather but are very light and waterproof if kept regularly waxed. For very boggy ground I wear Mountain Hard Wear gaiters over the waterproof trousers - they fasten with Velcro, so there are no fiddly buckles and straps to do up with frozen fingers! I hope this helps. Happy exploring! Christopher
By Peter on Books Hi Christopher, Have just greatly enjoyed your 'Best Wild Places'. I'm living in the UK now after many years in Southern Africa. I have always been a keen long distance walker but I'm afraid I'm having difficulties adapting to the local walking conditions, ha ha! that's putting it mildly, especially as I prefer the wild places. Two things I've noticed, first: just how populated the UK is, hence my interest in the wild places to get away from the crowds, and secondly, how impossible it seems to keep dry outdoors in these islands. I would greatly appreciate your advice, as someone who spends so much time outdoors yourself in wild, wet and often boggy places, as to your personal choice in clothing and footwear to best stay dry in wet conditions (or is the idea just to accept you're going to get wet?). I know you could write a book on this subject alone (and why not! 'Walking in the UK's wild places for those from dry climates'?), and I have done much research online, but I believe you have the personal experience I would value. Particularly, what footwear do you chose to cope with boggy ground short of wearing wellies, which are no good if you are doing a distance walk with varying wet/dry ground conditions and carrying all your kit on your back? Thanks, would appreciate your input. Keep writing!! Cheers, Peter
By BobCap on Burpham and Rackham Banks, West Sussex Just a quick note to say this was an excellent walk - great views, beautiful countryside, interesting wildlife - saw the Marsh Harriers - and superb pub Harveys beer and tasty and well presented food.
By Christopher on Allendale Town and the River East Allen, Northumberland Dear John, Very pleased you enjoyed that lovely walk, and thanks for the heads-up on the landslide. I'll put it on my website. With good wishes, Christopher
By john on Allendale Town and the River East Allen, Northumberland Hi Christopher, we did your Allendale Town walk last week. Thought you'd like to know there has been a landslide closing the path along the river at Bishopfields. Diversion notices saying find another route are posted at both Oakpool and Allendale Bridge ends and (as we walked up to Chapel House and along the road at access points there too. Enjoyed the walk though, best regards John
By Christopher Somerville on Thorpe Mandeville and Upper Wardington, Northants-Oxfordshire Dear Amelia, Thanks for getting in touch. You've helpfully highlighted a problem with my website that I've never been aware of up to now - the fact that it offers two maps: A. The one you get to via the red link 'Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window', which is a scan of the actual OS 1:25,000 Explorer map that I used on the walk with the route and places highlighted in pencil. This is the one I somehow always assume that people will use, because it's the one I used myself. B. The one you get to once you've clicked through to Map A, via the purple link, which is a GPS plot on a Landranger map. I’m afraid the route on this second map contans a mistake in routing the walk north of the farm and taking it in a loop southward to meet the actual route at Douglas's Barn - named as such on the Explorer, but not on the Landranger. You'll see the proper route on Map A, approaching Edgcote Lodge Farm from the east and passing to the south of it. I should have checked this map, and I didn’t, so mea culpa. From now on I will check it, and thanks for alerting me to that. The problem of a lack of names on the Landranger is hard to get over. It doesn't work nearly as well to use the GPX/1:50,000 Landranger map in conjunction with my detailed instructions, because they refer to the Explorer map with its better naming and clearer route marking. So from now on we'll include a 'Buyer Beware' notice on the GPS map to that effect. Thanks very much for pointing it out! I'm sorry your walk was spoiled, but I hope you have many more wonderful ones. With good wishes, Christopher
By Christopher on Thorpe Mandeville and Upper Wardington, Northants-Oxfordshire Dear Gill, Thanks very much for getting in touch. I had no idea about HS2 going so close to the walk. What a disaster for the village. People can learn more by visiting With good wishes, Christopher
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